CoDI DIY: Nine new tracks from a diverse cohort of singer-songwriters, R&B, experimental and post-folk artists who took part in CoDI DIY, a pathway aimed at music-creators who have not accessed post-school music education. This talented group of seriously talented musicians were guided by Pwyll ap Sion, and also received advice from a team of mentors.
Cara Ludlow: HYPERION
Hyperion is an original song inspired by a poem by Romantic poet John Keats, called The Fall Of Hyperion: A Dream. It explores themes of fragility and resilience, and how human beings respond to suffering and change. As part of the CoDI DIY project, I had the opportunity to work with composer Pwyll ap Sion, who created a beautiful string quartet arrangement, to support my guitar and vocal parts. Together, we wanted to make a dynamic and richly-arranged track, which still feels delicate and gives space to the lyrics and voice. Hyperion is recorded by James Clarke, and strings are performed by the Mavron Quartet.
Jake A Griffiths: BITTER OF THE SEAS (FROM A SOLEMN SOVEREIGN)
A Solemn Sovereign is a project that mangles the work of Chopin in hopes of finding something new within, it samples, elongates and repurposes part of his music until they become unrecognisable. The wider aspiration of this project was to take music of the past and bring it into a new sonic world and represent the feeling when delving deeper into the subject matter.
Kevs Ford: CEUNANT CYNFAL
This is one of a set of three compositions which are named after places that I love near my home village of Ffestiniog in North Wales. Ceunant Cynfal and Rhosydd are String Quartets played by The Mavron Quartet and Dros Y Moelwyn is an orchestral piece using samples recorded on Logic Pro X.
Cwm Cynfal is a deep ravine through which Afon Cynfal flows. It is mentioned in the Mabinogion and was a favourite haunt of mine growing up. It has amazing waterfalls and a huge rock in the middle of the river where it is said that a 16th Century wizard Huw Llwyd used to preach. Rhosydd is the name of an abandoned Quarry high up above Cwmorthin on Y Moelwyn, the mountain range north of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Dros Y Moelwyn references a walk across Y Moelwyn to Croesor on the other side.
Here is the first of the set, Ceunant Cynfal.
Heledd Evans: AFTERNOON
I usually create situation and site specific sound pieces, intended to enhance how we experience the world around us. For the past few years I have been working mostly within sound art, but through the CODI DIY project I began to explore composition and creating music for performance.
This piece, Afternoon is an example of just that. It was composed as part of a longer soundscape comprised of field recordings, ambient sound, and compositions relating to and inspired by different times of day. As the name suggests, Afternoon was inspired by the slower pace of early afternoon drifting into the end of the day, heralded by a choral section. In this rendition of the piece, field recordings are mixed into composition to ground it in the natural world. The piece was composed for string quartet, performed by the Mavron Quartet and produced by James Clarke.
Francesca Murphy: TILL THE SUN COMES UP
In a year that saw a pandemic, lockdowns, and for me personally, a life threatening illness, music has been a source of relief and inspiration. Working with Cardiff collective Ladies of Rage has inspired me to try my hand at making my own beats, and although I still have a lot to learn, I have really enjoyed the process. Till the Sun Comes Up was written about those all night adventures that bring the city alive, when the alcohol flows and the dancing never ends, nights that have been impossible over the last 18 months. The song is a distillation of various genres and styles colliding together in a mini big bang! With a tribute to Greta Garbo thrown in. Why not?
AVAILABLE FROM 04.11.21
Josh Whyte aka 'Blank Face': WEST SIDE
West Side is a song that was written alongside a friend of mine, Yahda. I wanted to capture a deep yet funny love story about a girl from the West Side. This is because I’m from a West African country called Nigeria. The production and sound engineering of the song were done by an artist named Max, also known by his EDM pseudonym as 10 PM. The song structure that was used to approach this song was very different to the normal, I decided to go with one 32 bar verse sandwiched between two exaggerated choruses leading to harmonies screaming westside. Lately, I’ve been dabbling with the idea of creating unorthodox son structures like making a song with no choruses or having just one verse rather than two.
In terms of the storyline, it is safe to say it’s a funny style ballad of a song where I describe my struggle to survives highlighting how important this westside baby would be to me once she comes into my life properly. Referencing the rumoured love of Julius Ceaser and Cleopatra of Egypt. It’s rumoured they would get drunk together hence the Ceaser reference even though I mention I’m “lost in the sauce” meaning confused, or paramount to losing one’s path or being led astray. The song affirms a type of love that could only be from the WestSide. Vague as it may be anyone could be your westside baby.
AVAILABLE FROM 11.11.21
Gwen Siôn: ANIMA
I wanted to use the project as an opportunity to try something different, to work with more traditional composition methods and to learn about composing and scoring music for strings as this is something she had never done previously. I wanted to work outside of her usual experimental practice in order to learn new skills and to try more traditional approaches to composition focusing specifically on scoring music for acoustic instruments.
AVAILABLE FROM 17.11.21
Rich Thair: PANTEG
(Composed, mixed and produced by Rich Thair at Panteg Studios. Strings performed by Mavron Quartet.)
I wanted to create a track that was challenging and evocative for the listener. The track is built on a 7/8 rhythm on Marimba and slowly other percussion instruments from different cultures are introduced, Thai Bells, African Djembe and Xylophone, Glockenspiel, hits on a broken piano and eventually live jazz drum fills. The pizzicato and sustained/Legato strings were originally composed and recorded via midi. It was an honour to have my composition interpreted by Mavron Quartet.
I mixed the track in Panteg Studios, combining the midi and Mavron parts and adding a Moog drone part to add some edge to the bridge and mirror the atmosphere from the original Blade Runner soundtrack. When creating this track, I was influenced by Steve Reich, Sun Ra, Vangelis, Konono No1 and Red Snapper.
AVAILABLE FROM 25.11.21
Hannah Ratigan: MYNYDDOEDD; ROSES
The two pieces came about during the COVID lockdowns, looking with an open mind towards a better time. While both songs are reflections and talk about escapism, they are very different pieces. With the aid of Ty Cerdd and the Mavron quartet, I was able to add layers of nuance and joy to the pieces through exploring strings and their functions alongside my working style.
Mynyddoedd was composed originally using vocal harmony, the quartet brings such a vast timeless quality that is very reflective of the 'mountains' the piece is about. The lyrics were poetically translated by Gareth Sion and Gorwel Roberts.
Roses explores how great the past was, looking back, and the excitement of the possibility to return to how things were, through the story of youth and blind hope. I feel, especially now, everyone is lacking a bit of that in our lives.
AVAILABLE FROM 02.12.21